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Project by Wade posted 02-08-2010 05:33 AM 3836 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First try at inlaying turqouise and silver solder… I HATE IT!!! Even though I hate the way this looks I did learn alot. First DO NOT USE EPOXY. Eposy worked OK for inlaying the turquoise rocks but not the turquoise powder or the silver solder. Good old fashioned super glue (CY) actual brand used was Krazy Glue. I routed out the figures with my dremel and just started mixing epoxy and pushin in the rocks. For the solder I just used a regular soldering iron to melt the solder into the void. when the solder cooled I pryed it out and put it back in place with epoxy (didn’t hold after i commenced to sanding) SANDING… what a pain… started out with a grinder on my dremel… didn’t work… tried the belt sander… didn’t work…moved on to my sonicrafter with a grinding attachment… THAT WORKED for removing the bulk of the excess. Went on to use 60 grit on my palm sander and went through the grits till I got up to 220 grit then went to hand sanding up through 600 grit. Stain was Walnut finished with Minwax Satin Poly. Oh… the boards (Pine) were something I had glued up years ago and found it under a pile of stuff in my garage. Next time I’ll do some things different. Thanks for looking at this mess of a project.

-- " I do what the vioces in my head tell me to do...HAHA"

16 comments so far

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4042 days

#1 posted 02-08-2010 05:45 AM

I cry with you my brother. I often find the frustating parts of our craft to be more than I expected. I usually dry my tears and when I look back in a couple of months or years have a good laugh. The outcome does look pretty good though. Maybe just the method needs adjusting. ;-)


-- Jim

View sras's profile


4822 posts in 3181 days

#2 posted 02-08-2010 05:53 AM

Maybe it’s the picture, but it looks good to me. Is the issue more about the frustration rather than the result?

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 4041 days

#3 posted 02-08-2010 05:53 AM

I wonder if the silver is soft enough to plane. Obviously, the rocks can’t be planed.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3629 days

#4 posted 02-08-2010 06:37 AM

It looks fine in the photo but if you feel otherwise chalk it up as a learning experience.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3173 days

#5 posted 02-08-2010 07:25 AM

I understand, I struggle with a project and when it turns out great, I fell good with all my labors paying off. But with all my sucess there are those less-than-par projects which I say to myself “What was I thinking”. I then return it to my scrap pile where maybe I can use parts of it on another project. I also think we are too harsh on ourselves. Every little mistake we make on our projects are magnified in our minds. But like you said we gain experience through our mistakes.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 3124 days

#6 posted 02-08-2010 07:34 AM

i agree with jim n richard, every job done in wood workings is almost a new world, im still scared to tackle tenon joints but as an example no matter what they are the same thing, but change the wood or the shape of the peice and it becomes a new learning curve again, in reality its never really the same since even the same board will have a different grain pattern and such…theres soo much more that needs to be learned then what we think we know ;)
but in either case yer smarter now so enjoy what you learned even if yer project didnt turn out quite the way u imagined it

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20750 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 02-08-2010 07:37 AM

Hi Wade,
Hey, you’re teaching us all a lesson. That is worthwhile because we may be faced with doing something similar and can refer back to your experience. I was wondering why the epoxy did not work with the powdered turquoise? I have a banksia pod from Australia and I intend to fill all the seed slits with epoxy and brass key filings while turning it. What should I be looking out for in the process?

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jasony's profile


47 posts in 3131 days

#8 posted 02-08-2010 08:09 AM

I’m considering using silver solder on a project and have a couple of questions. How hard was it to pry the solder up? Would it work if you have, say, a 1/16th inch wide trough for the solder, or is that too thin? Is this more in the realm of “inlay” than solder?

I’ve also always heard that you need to create an underhang in the channel or the solder will pop out. Did you experience this?



View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3134 days

#9 posted 02-08-2010 08:19 AM

Sounds like your project taught you quite a bit! I don’t think that starting over is something to be ashamed of—quite the contrary!


View ward63's profile


353 posts in 3139 days

#10 posted 02-08-2010 08:42 AM

I’ve always wanted to try doing something like that and from my point of view you did a nice job!
Practice makes perfect.

View whit's profile


246 posts in 4029 days

#11 posted 02-08-2010 02:51 PM

For a first attempt, it doesn’t look too bad. Well . . . there’s that void in the . . . and the extra stuff on that one . . . OH, and the grain in the wood isn’t . . . but the finish is, well, maybe not but . . .

If you don’t like it (in fact, even if you do), chalk it up to experience. But . . . if anyone tells you face-to-face that it looks bad, ask them how they’d have done differently. If they can tell you, you benefit from their knowledge (and probably prior bad experiences). If not, you can thank them for providing their artistic critique. Look at it this way – at least you had the testicular fortitude to post it so that others may learn. Note to self – NO EPOXY!! OH, and look for one of those Sonicrafter things. TOOL TIME!!!


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3648 days

#12 posted 02-08-2010 04:16 PM

looks good to me

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Wade's profile


18 posts in 3097 days

#13 posted 02-08-2010 05:58 PM

Wow… I didn’t think I would get any feedback. Thanks to everyone for checking it out and the positive comments. I did learn quite a bit for the next time I attempt this, witch will be soon since I hate getting my butt kicked by a little piece of wood. However before I do this again I will most definately build a thickness sander. (My wife wants me to try this on our kitchen table and its about 48” wide = BIG THICKNESS SANDER like a 55 incher… I cant wait!) Anyway the reason I dont care for this project is that I did not want to see ANY of the Epoxy and have it look like a seamless inlay that was tight with the cutout. Secondly I got ahead of myself in making the cutouts. I should have flipped the piece to see which way the grain pattern wint through the wood. The initial cutouts were right along the grain variations but as I sanded I realized that the inlay stayed put and the grains angle through the wood went in another direction. Another thing about the Epoxy that I did not like was the fact that there are a TON of air bubbles in it that you can’t see in the poor quality photos that I took with my cell phone. The epoxy is way too thick not to mention very MESSY whereas the super glue is like water and cures much faster. The softness of the pine makes it very tough to sand as the wood tends to sand lower than the hard inlay material around it making the inlay kind of like a little hump in the project. One thing I will point out is if you use super glue it is a definate must to put a light coat of poly on the areas where you will be working… The super glue stains the wood horribly and will not sand out. I found this out on a small test piece to see if it would work.

To answer some of the questions that were asked…

jsheaney – the silver inlay (Which is actually just no-lead plumbers solder) is only inlayed about 1/8” and will not actually stick to the wood which would make it difficult to plain down. The solder actually sands pretty easy. I think a thickness sander would be much better and not nearly as agressive as a plainer.

Jim Jakosh – The epoxy worked ok for the rocks and seemed to work ok for the solder until I started sanding…then it started to loosen and eventually popped out. I used 5 min epoxy and let it cure for 24+ hrs before messing with it and when sanding it did gum up the sandpaper quite a bit and I did mix it with the 1:1 ratio that ithe directions say. Tot other reasons are outlined above in my ramblings. The epoxy that the manufacturer claims is clear is actually a little amber in color. For your brass key filings I would definately use the super glue method. I would try it in a test piece first by putting the super glue in your voids then push the filings in with a piece of paper. If you want it to cure instantly just give it a little spritz of water but not too much or it will turn white. keep repeating this until you get the desired thickness. REMEMBER to put a little poly on the areas you want to do the inlay and let it dry or you will ruin your wood.

I hve to go to an appointment but will finish when I get back. THANKS TO EVERYONE

-- " I do what the vioces in my head tell me to do...HAHA"

View thelt's profile


665 posts in 3432 days

#14 posted 02-08-2010 07:28 PM

I know how you feel. I have the same problem with every project I do. I guess I’m just too critical of myself. I’m refinishing/rebuilding a 20 year old (I think) sewing machine cabinet that was given to me. I don’t know what kind of wood was used to start with. Then I used some old pine 1X12 pieces that I had laying around to replace the particle board that was used on the sides and back. The original wood turned out somewhat OK but the pine splotched even after using MinWax sealer to prevent it. I’m not happy with it, but it’s ok.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Wade's profile


18 posts in 3097 days

#15 posted 02-08-2010 08:41 PM

Jasony – The solder is super easy to pry up. In fact I think if you just turned the project it will just fall out as it does not stick to the wood. I used a 30 watt soldering iron to melt the solder. The trick to getting it to flow into the voids to actually fill them up is two fold. Take your regular household clothes iron and set it to high with NO STEAM and heat the wood as hot as you can get it. The iron will NOT burn the wood (at least mine didnt) or if you are worried about that just place a towel or something between the wood and the iron. By doing this the solder seemed to flow better and not solidify as fast. The second step is to make sure your soldering iron is good and hot. Put the point of the iron into the void at one end and put the solder behind the ironand simply slide the iron with the solder behind the iron so if your iron is on the right side the solder should be to the left of the iron and work towards your left… This allows the solder to melt and flow past the iron to fill the void. You want the solder to bead up on top of the whole void kind of like a weld so when you pull it out it will resemble a T shape. Be careful not to keep the soldering iron in one place too long or it will burn the wood. As for going as thin as 1/16” the solder will flow into it as long as your soldering has a tip that will fit into the void otherwise it will just kind of flow over the top and you will get very little penetration. My narrowest point is just about 1/8” and the depth was about an 1/8” to 3/16”. After the solder has solidified gently peel/pry it out and give it a spray of poly, let it dry overnight then use super glue and apply it along the length of the void and push your removed solder back into the void with the handle of a screwdriver or hammer or whatever to keep the glue off your fingers. Take a towel get it wet and rub it over the area, the wood will soak up just enough water that the superglue will be rock hard in a matter of a few minutes..then start sanding. As for undercutting the void (which I did do) I think its waste of time because as you sand unless your undercut is 100% perfect any flaws in the undercut will become noticeable as they are in mine making it look a little jagged. When I put solder over teh stone i just poked the iron into the different voids between the rocks and let it flow wherever the solder wanted to go. Some of it stayed and some fell out through the sanding process. In sanding I found that going to 600 grit on the solder did remove all the visible sanding marks from the previous grits. For your last question I would consider this an inlay with motlen metal using soldering techniques. Hope this helped and if you have any other questions just let me know.


-- " I do what the vioces in my head tell me to do...HAHA"

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